Finding a Roommate

Roommates getting to know one another.

The foundation of any great residential community is the relationship created and maintained between roommates. Whether you are a rising senior or an incoming student, you may be trying to find a roommate.  Below are some steps that we have put together in order to help you discover a roommate that could be a good match for you. We want you to find a great roommate, not necessarily your best friend. Your space on campus should be a place that you enjoy. These are only suggestions, not guarantees. Our hope is to minimize poor experiences for our residents.

A Strategy

  1. Be observant and thoughtful. Think about the people that you connect with and why. Think about how you live your life and watch others as they live their lives. Think about messiness, tidiness, cleanliness, and hygiene. What is important to you? Do you see others who share these priorities? While a preference for country music, hip hop or the symphony may seem important, they are not that critical compared to cleanliness, sleep, personality and character. Remember that most individuals are not perfectly compatible; you can make choices about what is important and compromise on what is less significant.
  2. Speak to others about what they are hoping for in a roommate. Don’t be afraid to ask someone; it is like find a date for the prom. Everybody is thinking about it, and everyone is a little nervous about bringing it up. While you should not rely on your RA or parent to find someone for you, you may ask for their counsel as they can make good observations.
  3. Start narrowing down the people who you would like to ask to be your roommate. Speak with them. Ask them tough questions now, not in September when a concern arises. What are they hoping for? What are you expecting? Realize that every year can be different; experience does not guarantee that you have figured it out. Discuss how you like to have problems addressed, and ask how they resolve concerns as well.
  4. Ask someone to be your roommate. It is not unusual for a students to ask 3 or 4 individuals before they setup a connection. Remember this is NOT a marriage proposal. Even when this commitment feels solid, remember that things can change. Your future roommate may transfer, withdraw, etc. Don’t despair; be flexible with your expectations and hopes. Examine whether your non-negotiable expectations are really that non-negotiable. Hold onto the important things and put aside lesser priorities. Further remember that the more roommates you have, the more conversations you should have.
  5. The final step is to participate in Room Selection (returning students) or complete your Housing Preferences Form (new students).

Below are helpful hints when talking to potential roommates:

  • Discuss your sleeping habits (weekdays and weekends)
  • What temperature you like the room to be (very warm, warm, cool, very cold)
  • Discuss what kind of sense of humor you have (silly, sarcastic, dry, etc.)
  • What time do you typically come home (before 8 p.m., after midnight, etc.)?  Discuss how to handle late-night situations
  • Discuss issues about the noise level in the room (TV, Skyping, music, studying, sleeping, etc.)
  • How much TV do you watch and what kinds of shows do you like to watch?
  • Discuss any pet peeves that you might have
  • Discuss what state you like the room to be in (very neat, messy, etc.)
  • Where do you like to study?
  • What belongings are you willing to share?  If so, what are the ground rules?
  • What are your thoughts on alcohol? (As a reminder, PA law requires individuals must be 21 years of age to consume alcohol)
  • Do you smoke? (Although smoking is not permitted in the residence halls, a smoker roommate may smell like smoke)
  • What are your spiritual or religious values?
  • What are some of your habits a roommate might need to know?
  • What guidelines should be set for guests in the room?  Under what circumstances can someone else stay in the room?
(Source: George Fox University)